Gender & Concerns Over Sexuality In Game Spaces

Diamantie, Ernelyn, Nicole, Verenisse

Does the sexuality of a game character really matter?

Obviously to some it does. A game called TF2 is stirring up controversy over a character by the name of Pyro. I have decided to use Mc Kenzie Warks theory to break down this ongoing issue.

MC Kenzie Wark opens up Gamer Theory by telling the story of everyday life as a game. Chapter One agony is based on no particular game instead it is based on “game space”. It was difficult to understand at first but according to Scott Reid from Georgia Gwinnett College this game space is “ a much broader and more holistic understanding of the way that gaming and ubiquitous digital environments precede the gamer”(Reed 2010) This meaning that Wark’s understanding of game space is one that goes beyond the game console.

The character Pyro at first comes off as a male. In the game he carries a purse that some find questionable. Gamers have gone so far as to look at the size of his finger to say that the character is homosexual. My question though is, why does it matter? I then looked in the nature of the game and found that it is a masculine game. There is no need to be naïve and a large number of gamers are female. The issue with this character is that his sexuality has not been identified according to the official blog. But this uncertainty is obviously discomforting to many, so they assume a bunch of things. like whether he is gay, a woman or a feminine man. According to the blog site, any of these could be accurate. (Blog site:

Chapter two of the theory is called Allegory. Wark uses the game the Sim’s to break down this meaning. “In the allegorical mode, says Walter Benjamin: Any person, any object, any relationship can mean absolutely anything else”(Wark 29). A game like The Sims according to Wark is a parody of everyday life. In everyday there are people like this character Pyro who are scrutinized for their sexual preference as well, but that is not where I am going with this. My concern is with why does the sexuality of a character matter as long as they are getting the job done? What would it matter if Pyro is female or male? Who benefits from these answers and who are asking these questions?

Wark opens up the second chapter with a character by the name of Benjamin who goes from nothing to something. Wark constantly rebuilds this characters life from beginning to end making it known that the game is just a game because no human can really live and relive a life like this. Possessions d o not make us happy and there is no manual on life.

This game posed as a life for many. I remember seeing my cousin play this game for hours and be able to create this luxurious lifestyle that she would perhaps never get a glimpse of because she spent far too many hours at a computer screen wasting her life playing a game about life. I found a critique of Wark’s work like myself by the name of Cathy Li. Unlike Cathy I see in many cases how a game like the Sim’s can be mistaken for reality although it is not. Cathy states that “living life as a game gets us nowhere”(Li, 2014) I look at the Sims game then like social media is today for many individuals. There are people pretending to be something they are not or struggling to live up to the standards that the media presents. Social media is a game itself where gender does not matter in most cases unless of course you are like a Pyro. disagrees. Back to social media there are many people today who are famous and rich off of social media and reality television. These people can possess those luxurious that the Sims has today. Many of us today are controlled by the game space of social media and we don’t notice it but thanks to Wark I did.

Chapter five Atopia shows a great deal concern with space, which I found interesting. Wark uses the game Vice City, which I am also familiar with to analyze atopia, which is complete game space existence everywhere. The game is known for being violent and over the top. The game for me though works the way that many people wished that life would. You complete a mission and you get a prize.

I found this video on YouTube about a popular game that is being deeply critiqued for a questionable character of the game.


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